The year 2003 wasn't a good one for Ja Rule, who had been blasted over and over that year by 50 Cent, the rap industry's latest upstart darling. 50 had blasted Ja Rule for blasphemously impersonating 2Pac and for making pseudo-gangsta pop-rap music -- and by and large, Ja was left speechless. It was simply a matter of fact: Ja Rule had indeed aped 2Pac's persona to an extent, he had indeed made pop-rap duets with Ashanti his stock-in-trade, and he was thus an easy target who was bound to be clapped at some point. So by late 2003, the year of 50 Cent (who had sold millions and millions of records, racked up hit after hit, and saturated the media with his omnipresence), Ja Rule and his camp, Murder Inc, were in a desperate state of damage control. They kept quiet throughout most of the year, waiting for 50 Cent's moment in the sun to pass, yet by the end of the year, Ja Rule had readied his inevitable return, Blood in My Eye -- a rushed 45-minute release with a pair of good singles ("Clap Back," "The Crown") and a lot of vengeful return shots at 50 Cent and his camp (notably including Eminem among the targeted). Relative to what Ja Rule had been doing the past couple years, Blood in My Eye is a very focused and heartfelt album, and certainly much more gangsta than anything he'd done since his DMX-modeled debut album, Venni Vetti Vecci. The thing is, Ja Rule is no match for 50 Cent (and can't hold a candle to Eminem), so it's fairly futile for him to fill Blood in My Eye with vengeance. He's much better off as a singles artist, making catchy pop-rap tracks with grimy posturing and singalong hooks. He should just stick to what he does best and not pick a fight he can't win. But there's something to be said for pride, particularly in the rap world, so perhaps it's best that Ja Rule vents his frustration here, on this stopgap release, and puts this predicament behind him so that he can move on with his career and once again start making the sort of pop-rap singles that he'd experienced so much success with. Whatever the rationale, though, there's not much to savor about Blood in My Eye from a listener standpoint -- there are only two quality songs, a lot of redundant trash-talking, and an overall sense of ridiculousness that pervades, from the opening intro skit to the superfluous album-closing "bonus track" disses that had already made the rounds months prior on the mixtape circuit.
AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier